By: Cermonia Thomas
Trauma is a term used to describe a medical injury, emotional upset, or a psychological disorder resulting from extreme physical or emotional stress. Generally, when we speak of trauma the easiest reference point for most is to think of a medical injury, some sort of accidental or intentional act that left one in extreme pain; something that would generally require medical attention.
Additionally, another popular opinion of trauma is what our Military Veterans experience, PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. These ailments are common and there are several outlets dedicated to helping treat and or provide a resolution for the victims to live a relatively simple and productive life. What about the acts that are never spoken of? Rape, bullying, extreme mental and emotional distress are quiet forms of trauma that often go untreated. I’m not sure if this is due to a lack of resources or the inability to realize the fact that these events can wreck even the most well-rounded person when they go untreated.
Statistics show that at least 60 percent of men and 50 percent of women suffer from some form of PTSD (The National Center for PTSD) and only 2-11 percent of those will receive a medical diagnosis and or treatment for past trauma. To some surviving the event alone is a form of treatment and they believe burying the memory will allow them to live peacefully. Unfortunately, this is never the case.
Picture this… You’ve survived every obstacle that was meant to tear you down. You have a loving spouse, beautiful children, and a thriving career. You are unstoppable, that is until one little thing triggers a memory or something about a situation or person seems familiar. You begin to develop an anxiety and withdraw from all the things that previously brought you joy. Those around you don’t understand what has transpired because you’ve never shared the “what” or the “how” of your past experience and or treatment to overcome.
What about the abuse you may have received as a child? Mental, physical, and emotional abuse in the form of extreme discipline or corporal punishment, the abuse we all thought was a way of life and absolutely normal? The abuse that now presents itself as a generational curse because it was done to your grandparents and parents. The abuse that will now be ingrained in your child.
Then there is the parent that may have had such a difficult upbringing to the point of now lacking the ability to discipline your children. The parents that overcompensate for the wrong that was done to them. Parents who can’t and will never say no.
These are just a few examples of how we manage/parent when we’ve failed to address trauma. Trauma when untreated will evolve into PTSD and that brokenness will eventually harm your children. Here’s the good news, we can fix it. Let’s explore some of these options.
First things first
Ok you’ve gone your entire life without feeling the need to address old problems. After all, who wants to drag all those bones out of the closet? Well it is no longer a matter of want, it has evolved into a need for a resolution. Counseling should be your first step; spiritual or conventional methods work. Guess what, it’s going to hurt like the dickens, you will feel violated, and frustrated at having to re-live those past experiences. Please trust the process and remember it is not a race. You’ve lived with this for a while and it will take a while to heal.
Reconcile the Harm done to your children
Ha, you thought dealing with the source of your trauma was going to be the most difficult part of this healing thing. Nope, not so! Acknowledging the fact that your unresolved issues have now been projected onto the very people that you have been charged with protecting will be gut wrenching.
Reconciliations should include counseling for the children and open dialogue without fear, blame, or judgement to voice how our issues have negatively impacted their lives. You will have to share what got you all to this place and accept accountability for “breaking” them.
Parents, you are not alone and the road to recovery although not easy is obtainable. Also, it is natural to want the person that caused you so much grief to pay for what was done to you. This may not always be an option and you will need to be ok with that, please be prepared to move on with blind faith.
In summary, we have all experienced some degree of mental and emotional distress. Healing and treatment are our fiduciary duty as parents and key to raising emotionally healthy children. Don’t allow your brokenness to become their pain.
Children are happy when they see their parents happy. There is a scripture that says, “A wise man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children.” (Proverbs 13:22)
Leave the inheritance of happiness, protection, and joy for these are intangible and will be the things that are cherished and remembered.